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Four-day General Strike in Nigeria Halts Economy
by \ Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004 at 3:26 PM


Four-day General Strike in Nigeria Halts Economy
by Class Conscious Friday, Oct. 22, 2004 at 5:50 PM

This corrupt and dictatorial regime is fully backed by the western powers. President Obasanjo’s policy of eliminating all subsidies on oil products is part of a series of economic reforms backed by the International Monetary Fund.

Full article:

Economic life in Nigeria was virtually brought to a standstill in a four-day general strike that began on October 11. The strike was called by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), which represents 29 of the country’s blue-collar unions. It was in protest against a recent 25 percent increase in the price of fuel. Fuel prices have more than doubled since some subsidies were removed in October 2003.

This was the sixth strike to be organised by the NLC since President Obasanjo began to phase out fuel subsidies three years ago. Support for the action was widespread. All over the country factories, shops, banks, government offices, filling stations, schools and hospitals remaining closed, leaving the streets of major cities almost deserted.

In Abuja and in many other states, armed police took to the streets in an attempt to intimidate the strikers. On the first day of the strike, police fought running battles in the northern city of Kaduna with protesters. The police killed a 12-year-old boy and 14 demonstrators were arrested.

In Ibadan 30 Polytechnic students were wounded when police threw tear gas into their halls of residence. In Awka nine strike leaders were arrested.

In Benin young demonstrators bore placards that read, “No to fuel increase. Obasanjo must go, or we must die if Obasanjo remains.”

NLC spokesman Owei Lakemfa told Agence France Presse (AFP) that armed gangs attacked NLC activists in Lagos while police stood by and did nothing. He said, “Many cars in the convoy, including those belonging to labour leaders, were damaged. Many people, including journalists and NLC officials, were injured. As human beings, if we are attacked next time we will defend ourselves.”

Two days before the strike began, Adams Oshiomhole, president of the NLC, was arrested by 15 members of the State Security Service (SSS) at Abuja airport as he was about to board a flight to Lagos. He was released several hours later....

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